Curtis Jones scored a career-high 23 points and Cam McGriff had 17 points and seven rebounds to lead Oklahoma State to an 82-73 victory over Central Arkansas on Friday.
Jones, who also had six rebounds, was playing just his second game for the Cowboys after becoming eligible last week, following his transfer from Indiana last year. Oklahoma State (5-6) snapped a four-game losing streak.
Hayden Koval scored 21 points and added eight rebounds for Central Arkansas (4-8), a member of the Southland Conference. The Bears, who were playing their fifth straight road game, lost their third in a row.
After trailing by 10 at halftime, the Bears pulled to within 67-64 after Thatch Unruh sank two free throws with 5:56 remaining, capping off a 14-6 run, but that was as close as Central Arkansas would get. Oklahoma State scored the next eight points over a span of two 1/2 minutes to restore a double-digit lead and seal the victory.
Central Arkansas: After Khaleem Bennett's free throw with 4:46 left in the first half, the Bears, who had led most of the game, held a 27-23 advantage and looked poised for an upset. But after limiting Oklahoma State to 1-of-9 shooting over the previous eight minutes, Central Arkansas got outscored 20-6 for the rest of the half, and suddenly, the Bears were heading into the break trailing by 10. It would take Central Arkansas more than nine minutes of the second half before they sliced the deficit to fewer than eight points.
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys, who played just their fourth home game of the season, began playing a lot of their reserve players early, and perhaps not coincidentally, trailed for most of the first half. But Oklahoma State, which has played one of the nation's most difficult nonconference schedules, used a 13-2 run late in the opening half to take control, at least until the Bears made a late charge.
Central Arkansas: The Bears don't play again until Dec. 30, when they return home for the first time since Nov. 28 to take on Lyon College.
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys are off for the next eight days, facing Texas A&M - Corpus Christi at home on Dec. 29.